Weekly Feature

2013-10-09 / Front Page

Athletic director’s report highlights needs for repair, upgrades


The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District’s athletic fields are in desperate need of repair, according to Brett Banker, the district’s supervisor of health, physical education, recreation and athletics.

During his presentation at the Sept. 30 School Board meeting, Banker rattled off a list of significant projects and purchases that the district should consider to get the athletic facilities up-to-date.

Regrading, overseeding, fertilizing and adding drainage topped the list, since the majority of the fields in the district — those at Edison, Franklin and Lindbergh elementary; Franklin, Hoover and Kenmore middle; Kenmore East high; Green Acres; and “Sparky” Adams field — are in need of those types of services, Banker said. He said drainage issues — collapsing drainage tiles, ruts in the ground and low spots — pose a huge problem for anyone who uses those fields. Banker said upgrades to the fields would decrease the amount of foot, ankle and knee injuries that occur given the current conditions.

He said the main issue is that many of the fields weren’t designed for competitive play but they had to be used as practice sites as the district’s athletics program expanded. The district currently has 161 teams.

Banker said the outdoor asphalt tracks at both the high schools also pose a safety hazard. He explained that the track surface has lost its grip, causing it to be slippery, so reconditioning of the surface should be a priority. He added that the poor track conditions make him hesitant to allow invitational meets to be hosted at the schools.

The tracks were last reconditioned in 2004 and repainted in 2006.

Banker also suggested that the district consider installing artificial turf and lights at its varsity football fields. He then noted that several districts are working on athletic facility improvement plans.

Banker said Grand Island School District is installing artificial turf on its football field in the spring, and Sweet Home School District has a proposal that the public will vote on this month for $3.5 million to be used to create a lighted, multi-sport artificial turf complex.

“Installing artificial turf on our fields will create a consistency of play for both the home and visiting teams. It will also improve the level of play. Artificial turf fields drain well,” Banker explained.

Also, as part of his report, Banker said the gymnasiums at Hamilton, Hoover, Lindbergh and Roosevelt elementary schools, at Hoover and Franklin middle schools, and Kenmore East High School are in need up some repairs as well. “These are issues that need to be addressed for the health and safety of our athletes,” Banker said.

Trustee Judy Frank said it was “disheartening” to see that other districts are upgrading their athletics facilities while Ken-Ton’s facilities seem to be in need of conditioning and repair.

District Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said the district could never get all that work done at once and that the board needs to prioritize which districtwide projects it wants to pursue because of the annual budget constraints.

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